Autonomy Book Reviews Employee Engagement Extrinsic Vs. Intrinsic Motivation Leadership Motivation Organisational Culture Purpose Teamwork

How to effectively motivate your employees

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

“Most people believe that the best way to motivate is with rewards like money—the carrot-and-stick approach. That’s a mistake, says Daniel H. Pink. In this provocative and persuasive new book, he asserts that the secret to high performance and satisfaction-at work, at school, and at home—is the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world.” –

Daniel H. Pink, a New York Times and Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author, was a speechwriter for Vice President Al Gore from 1995 to 1997. He has provided analysis of business trends on CNN, CNBC, ABC, and NPR. His books (he’s the author of 5) have been translated into 34 languages and he’s been named one of the top 15 business thinkers in the world. He is also currently the host and co-executive producer of “Crowd Control,” a new television series about human behavior on the National Geographic Channel.

In his book Drive, Pink uses 50 years of behavioral science to overturn the conventional wisdom about what truly motivates us. This is the same conventional wisdom many businesses, organisations, and companies have been employing for generations but which has only proven to be unsuccessful and counterproductive. Pink argues for a more effective path to high performance and this book will open the eyes of any leader, manager, employer, or CEO who wants more engaged team members who produce a higher quality of work.

In its most elemental form, Pink’s argument is really about the tug-of-war between extrinsic motivation and intrinsic motivation.

Extrinsic motivation relies on incentives outside of ourselves for motivation. In other words, it’s behaviour that’s driven by external rewards. These rewards can be tangible (money, for instance) or they can be psychological (praise). Think about a manager who informs his team that the first employee to develop a solution to one of the company’s outstanding problems will be rewarded with a considerable bonus. The team members rush to craft a remedy. They are operating based on extrinsic motivation (a very big bonus).

The basis of Pink’s Drive, however, is to show through psychological and academic research that extrinsic motivation is simply not as potent as companies may think, nor is it effective in establishing behaviour and pattern changes in the long run.

Instead, he presents the idea that extrinsic motivation’s opposite—intrinsic motivation—is the prime ingredient in the recipe for success, especially when served in the following portions:

  • Create an environment that gives employees autonomy
  • Allow opportunities for employees to pursue mastery
  • Engage employees with daily tasks related to a larger purpose

As Pink puts it, “Management isn’t about walking around and seeing if people are in their offices. It’s about creating conditions for people to do their best work.”

Over the next three weeks, we’ll dive deep into the topics of autonomy, mastery, and purpose in order to better understand how we as leaders can create productive work environments that yield higher results, better job satisfaction, and phenomenal job performance.

If your company’s efforts toward motivating your team members have proven fruitless and ineffective, it may be time to re-examine your motivators. Are you cultivating intrinsic motivation in your team? If not, Drive will help you better understand the psychology of motivation and how motivating others can be easier and more fulfilling for everyone involved.

Want to purchase a copy of Drive to read along with our series? Visit out bookshelf here and take advantage of the best price online.

Also, for more great articles on discretionary effort (the extra mile employees are willing to go for a task), click the links below:

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